There’s no question that my whole life turned upside down when I had kids. Suddenly, another person needed attention more than anyone else in my life, and that changed absolutely everything on my priority list. Something as insignificant as taking a long, hot shower became a cherished and almost unattainable thing. (I know the whole “you can barely get the time on your own to take a shower!” thing is a bit overplayed, but it’s for a reason. I won’t tell you how often it happens in my house.)
Becoming a parent didn’t magically make me a different person, which can feel like both a good thing and a not-so-good thing. I never wanted to lose myself completely to motherhood, but I was kind of hoping I might become less sarcastic and impatient around my kids than I'd known myself to be with other people in my life before becoming a mom. Admittedly, those seem like big changes to put on a baby’s shoulders. Point being, when most people are staring down the barrel of impending parenthood, there’s an equal amount of fear that everything will change, and fear that it won't.
As much as who I am didn’t really change after becoming a mom, it can feel like I’m losing myself at times. All of the things I remember doing, enjoying, looking forward to? There are moments when I feel like I’ll never do them again. But the truth is, it’s incredibly important to carve moments out for all of the things that make you you. So, with my partner’s support, I do. And it makes all the difference in the world to how good a person I am, around my kids. Here are the things that don’t change about you, once you have kids.
The Need To Have Time For Yourself
I’m not saying that you always get it, but you will absolutely continue to need time for yourself. Maybe it’s time reading a book, maybe it’s going for a pedicure, maybe it’s practicing yoga, or rebuilding a vintage motorcycle, or playing video games—we all need time to recharge. It isn’t selfish. It’s necessary, vital self-care that makes us our best selves for our children. I’d be lying if I said it was possible every single day for me, at this point, but I at least try to carve time out every week.
The Need For Intimacy With Your Partner
As I write this, I’m laughing a bit. Not because it’s funny, but because I feel rather pathetic mentioning this, given the current state of affairs on this topic in my house (spoiler: we're terrible at finding time to spend with just each other). Although, honestly, the fact that finding time to be with my partner is still a challenge for me, and that I care that it’s a challenge, is nothing but further evidence that it’s still something I need. Maybe the ability to get all the intimate time you want with your partner changes after you have kids, but wanting and needing it? That doesn’t go away. Intimacy looks completely different after kids. Spontaneity is all but snuffed out, at least for a while, and privacy barely exists at all, but when you take the time and the energy to connect in this way, you would not believe how much better your outlook is, on your relationship and on life in general.
Going Out With Your Friends
They may happen way less frequently than they used to, but nights out with your friends are not going to be completely replaced by breastfeeding nights in. Well, not forever. It may take some scheduling, rather than the more spontaneous events (note the theme?) that used to happen in the past, but they can still fit into your life. And they are so necessary.
Wanting To Binge Watch "Orange Is The New Black" While Eating All The Food
Your child will, in fact, go to bed eventually. And when that happens, it almost feels like a special ceremony, going to the freezer and pulling out the ice cream, heading to the couch, sitting down, revelling in the silence, and then turning on Netflix. It’s a beautiful thing, and it's a thing that remains blissfully unchanged from before you had kids.
Your Love Of Booze
If you’re breastfeeding, you can definitely have an occasional drink, according to experts. I mean, don’t go downing the bottle or anything crazy, but you don’t have to deprive yourself completely, either. And as far away as it can feel when you’re deep in the days of having a kid on your boob every 2 hours, the time will come soon enough when you’ll be able to share a bottle of Malbec with your partner over dinner after the kids go to sleep. There will again come a time when your friends take you out for your birthday and you drink tequila like you’re 22, leaving you with a hangover that lasts for 3 days. The point is, having a kid doesn’t fully take away your ability to imbibe, nor does it fully take away your occasionally terrible judgment.
If You're Not A Morning Person Before Kids, You Probably Won't Magically Turn Into One
News flash: Not all moms get up before their kids wake up in order to get a jump on the day. While I’m sure plenty of moms do that, either because they’re naturally early risers, or because they’re overachievers who like to slay the day, I think the notion that all moms do this is just another false parenting narrative designed to the rest of us feel like failures for lounging around in bed playing on our phones until 9:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. I, for one, continue to be a night owl, regularly staying up until midnight, despite having a son who wakes up at 5:45 a.m. several times a week. It’s my most productive time, and it’s just not something I’m willing to give up. The solution? My partner and I alternate waking up with the littles, while the other sleeps in for an extra hour or two.
Liking Pretty Things (Or Even Just Clean Things)
You may not wear your favorite shirt or dress as often as you did before kids because you get puked on regularly these days. You may have put away all your beautiful, dangly earrings and long necklaces, because tiny hands love to pull them—hard. You may not have time to blow-dry your hair, because you have other things to do during nap time. But make sure you give yourself the opportunity to wear or do these things occasionally, so that you don’t totally lose yourself in the mom role. (And no, it’s not like you’re not “you” without dangly earrings or straight hair, or hell, maybe neither of those things is “you” at all, but obviously these are just examples. The point is, being a mom might mean your styling routine might take a bit of a… turn after having kids, but you’ll get back to looking and feeling like yourself eventually.)
Your Need To Rely On Sarcasm
I try. Really I do. My daughter says something ridiculous and I can’t help but respond with sarcasm. Don’t get me wrong, I start out being understanding, but if she insists on being dramatic, it’s game over. Sarcasm gets all over the damn place. Whatever.
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